Forum to examine mental health myths

  • Feb. 26, 2011 8:00 a.m.

It’s one of the most misunderstood mental health disorders, something local officials hope  to change in March with the first of four mental health forums.

Borderline Personality Disorder will be the topic of discussion at the 2011 Knowledge is Power Series: Part 1, being held March 10 at the Canadian Mental Health Association in Kelowna.

Known as BPD, Borderline Personality Disorder affects between two and three per cent of Canada’s population. It is often misdiagnosed and frequently misunderstood. “We’re hoping to educate people about what Borderline Personality Disorder is and what treatments are out there,” said Charly Sinclair, with the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Kelowna branch. “It’s not very well understood.”

Key for people suffering from BPD is to get a proper diagnosis of the disorder, said Sinclair. People suffering with BPD often physically harm themselves and have impulsive behaviours, deal with substance abuse and emotional upheaval.

“They are dealing with a lot of extreme emotion,” said Sinclair. “They have relationship problems. They experience great emotional pain. They interpret their experiences badly.”

The forum will examine current treatment for BPD and will hear from a Kelowna psychologist as well as an individual who suffers from BPD but has been treated and is recovering. “There is help available,” stressed Sinclair. “It used to be thought that people with BPD didn’t recover but new treatments are being used and recovery is possible.”

BPD affects 11 per cent of all mental health patients and 75 per cent of sufferers are women. Ten per cent of people diagnosed with the disease have committed suicide, according to CMHA.

“It’s a very serious disorder and it requires a lot of help,” said Sinclair.

The BPD forum is one of four that will be held by the Canadian Mental Health Association this year. Other topics to be covered will be the stigma around bullying, attention deficit disorder and eating disorders. The BPD forum will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m., March 10. You must register because seating is limited. Call 250-861-3644 or email kelowna@cmha.bc.ca.

 

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